Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Gwen Ifill: Pundit or Journamalist

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Gwen Ifill: Pundit or Journamalist

Today on Meet the Press, Gwen Ifill shared the round triangular table with none other than Wall Street Journal's own wankerific John Harwood.

Regular readers know I have been critical of Gwen in the past. However, today I will refrain from her commentary and focus instead on Meet the Press' editors/producers or whoever it is that is in charge of attributing guests to their place of work.

For today Gwen was not affiliated with her full time job of co-anchor/reporter for The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, but instead with her part time job of hosting Washington Week. Washington Week is a program that confuses the hell out of those of us who are finding it harder and harder to differentiate between pundits and journalists. For it is a weekly "news" analysis program that regularly features reporters discussing the week's news whilw regularly injecting their opinions about stories they may or may not have played a role in writting.

Thanks to Meet the Press for relieving Gwen of her title as journalist, and granting her a "pundit" attribution. This grants Gwen the freedom regularly accorded to other journalists regularly appearing on MTP. By blurring Gwen's journalist credentials she is free to inject her opinion into the discussion with a bonified opinion trafficant such as Harwood.

This sounds marginally of interest at best, however, the discussion Gwen John and Russert were having routinely returned to Jim Lehrer's interview of the President. In fact with every mention of Lehrer, the implication was the Gwen was Lehrer's representative to some extent. Which is totally appropriate given her full time job at The Newshour.

That only begs the question: If the reason you had Gwen Ifill on as a guest was to have her play a role as an abassador for the Newshour, why obscure the fact that indeed she is a member of the Newshour, and instead affiliate her with her less widely known role as Washington Week host?

I dunno... perhaps Washington Week needs more ratings.